Why is it that on this night we get to recline, yet our children sit bored at our seder table? As a young girl, I looked forward to the search for the afikomen, the food, and the singing. I shouldn’t admit this, but I dreaded sitting through hours of ceremony that I barely understood. For that reason, I resolved this issue for my own kids. I provide them with their own kid’s Haggadah that we use on a first-night family seder.
In normal years, we attend a community seder on night two. There, I allow my kids above all to sit quietly at the table and enjoy coloring pages and picture books highlighting the story of Passover. They may not follow the long seder, but that’s okay. There is plenty of time for that as they grow older.
A children’s Hagaddah and a small family seder is a perfect solution for keeping the holiday while respecting social distancing.
However, this year, world circumstances have changed. Our seder will be short, fun, and highlighted by our favorite Jewish storyteller: Sammy Spider. A children’s Haggadah can be an excellent accompaniment to a traditional seder as it allows for a shorter rendition of the important Jewish Passover tradition. For us, it will be a substitute.
Our kid’s Haggadah
We retell the story each year to a growing audience. By reusing a family Haggadah year after year, we build memories. We love the Sammy Spider books, but I have also included what we believe are some of the best children’s Haggadah examples for the family seder.
Children's Haggadah that we like
Sammy Spider's First Haggadah
We are big fans of Sammy Spider's ability to weave holiday tales for our kids. Following up on Sammy Spider’s First Passover (see below) there is now a 32-page first Haggadah. Targeted for pre-school to Grade 1 students, our whole family enjoys being guided through Passover traditions by Sammy.
This short Haggadah holds our kid’s attention long enough to bring them through the steps of the Pesach Seder including the exodus, the four questions, sampling the traditional foods, and onto the traditional Passover meal.
Gateways Haggadah (for children with special needs)
The Gateways Haggadah is an all-inclusive Passover seder book created specifically for special needs children. The seder takes about 30 minutes to complete.
It's filled with engaging photographs as well as picture communication symbols ("developed by Mayer-Johnson, TM the leading creator of symbol-adapted special education materials to assist individuals in overcoming their speech, language, and learning challenges") to allow the best level of participation in the ceremony.
The Artscroll Children's Haggadah
A beautifully illustrated Haggadah aimed at children 9 and up, with an accurate but child appropriate English translation of the full Haggadah text, as well as extra information about the seder. The excellent reviews suggest that this book is enjoyed by the whole family.
Passover stories for kids
Alongside the children’s Haggadah, a great Passover story for kids will enhance the experience for your children.
Below is a selection of books that entertain and teach leading up to the holiday. They also make great Passover gifts for those who find the afikomen. I have included some popular titles below, as well as our favourite. Once again, this is Sammy Spider.
Sammy Spider's First Passover
For Sammy Spider fans (and 3 to 8 year olds), this is a must-have book. In fact, if you are using our favourite kid's Haggadah, this book just adds to the fun, giving kid's a bit of background using the same words in their upcoming seder.
This one tells the story of Sammy's first web, spun with a surprise. Sammy is fascinated by the Passover traditions of the family owning the house he occupies. See what unfolds after Sammy's mother tells him, "Spiders don't celebrate Passover. Spiders spin webs."
The Passover Story: Celebrating Freedom
A 40-page book that does exactly what it says, it simply tells the story of Passover. Aimed at young children, the reviews are excellent.
More Than Enough
Focused on the value of thankfulness (Dayenu), this book takes us through the preparation of a Passover seder in a fun and lyrical fashion. Aimed for preschool to grade 2, it's a lovely addition to the home library.
Make your own kid’s Haggadah
If none of these options appeals to you, make your own children’s Haggadah. It’s not as complex as it sounds.
A final thought on a children’s Haggadah
A kid’s Haggadah keeps children entertained through the seder. What you give up in the name of brevity, you make up in fostering a life-long love for the holiday.
Save for Passover
Don’t forget to save this on Pinterest for when you are ready to set up for Passover.
Photo credit on Pin: slgckgc. Licensed by creative commons attribution 2.0.
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